Tite springs surprises in last squad before World Cup

Willian Jose, linked with Everton last year, was called up by Brazil (Mowa Press)

Tite has called up Neto, Anderson Talisca and Willian Jose for Brazil’s friendly matches against Russia and Germany, their final games before the World Cup squad is announced.

Neymar wasn’t in the squad due to his broken metatarsal. That he will be missed goes without saying really, but as highlighted here on Brazilfooty last week, Tite has shown a lot of consistency in his team selection and squad since taking the reigns. He doesn’t fancy squad rotation and his philosophy is that the seleção meet so infrequently that when they do meet, they need to practise exactly what they want to do and play how they want to play rather than try new things. Neymar is a massive blow. Of course, during his press conference yesterday Tite said how Neymar’s injury would give other players a chance and highlighted the good form of Douglas Costa and Willian. He would say that though wouldn’t he.

As it happens, Tite did raise a few eyebrows by calling up Neto, for years Gianluigi Buffon’s understudy at Juventus, but now first choice goalkeeper at Valencia. Attacking midfielder-come-forward Anderson Talisca, of Besiktas, and striker Willian Jose, of Real Zaragoza, also got the call. The latter was a transfer target for Everton last year and once on the books of Real Madrid. He also called up centre back Pedro Geromel for his good form with Grêmio and Rodrigo Caio, despite his poor form with São Paulo.

Tite said that there are around 16 players that have basically already booked their place in the World Cup squad. But the final spots are up for grabs and he mentioned the names of several players that weren’t called up – the likes of Gil, Jemerson, Giuliano, Lucas Lima, Diego, Rodriguinho, Alex Sandro – and said that they are still on his radar and in with a chance of travelling to Russia in June. He wants players to be fighting for their place and playing at a high level before he has to make his final decision. Tite named a total of 25 players in the squad for the upcoming friendly matches against Russia (23rd of March) and Germany (27th of March). This is the full squad:

Keepers: Alisson (Roma), Ederson (Manchester City) and Neto (Valencia)

Full backs: Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (PSG), Filipe Luis (Atlético de Madrid) and Fágner (Corinthians)

Zagueiros: Marquinhos (PSG), Thiago Silva (PSG), Miranda (Inter de Milão), Pedro Geromel (Grêmio) and Rodrigo Caio (São Paulo)

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Willian (Chelsea), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Anderson Talisca (Besiktas), Paulinho (Barcelona), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona) and Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan)

Forwards: Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Douglas Costa (Juventus), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk) and Willian José (Real Sociedad)

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